SW Historical Society updates: Lou Whittaker recalls ‘a heck of a ride’; West Seattle Bridge 30th-anniversary party ahead

May 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

(Video by Mark Jaroslaw)
Thanks to Clay Eals from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society for sharing video excerpts from Lou Whittaker‘s West Seattle High School appearance sharing memories from “A Life in the Mountains” (and screening the biographical documentary of the same name). As you’ll hear him observe at one point (or maybe you were there to hear him in person), “It has been a heck of a ride.” And it’s not over yet – he is going strong at 85. More than 100 people came to see and hear him. Read more about it on the SWSHS website.

NEXT UP FOR SWSHS – BRIDGE ANNIVERSARY AND MORE: So much is going on in June, it might take us until then to mention it all here. So instead – check out the right side of the organization’s home page for the latest on the totem-pole unveiling, the next “Words, Writers, West Seattle” author, and … a multi-modal celebration of the 30th anniversary of the high-rise West Seattle Bridge (dedicated July 14, 1984).

(Seattle Municipal Archives photo of The Bridge while it was being built)
According to the SWSHS website, it all starts a month in advance with a special exhibit at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor). Read all about the bridge-i-versary plans here.

Congratulations! Local students honored with Alki Masonic Lodge’s 36th annual School Awards

May 20, 2014 at 11:11 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, West Seattle schools | 4 Comments

A ceremony last night at Alki Masonic Hall in The Junction honored the local students chosen for this year’s School Awards from Lodge #152, the 36th year the lodge has presented awards “in support of our public-school system.” Eight juniors from each of two schools were honored, four girls and four boys:

Above, the West Seattle High School honorees. Accompanied in our photo by principal Ruth Medsker, they are, in alphabetical order:

Megan Duong
Charli Elliott
Maxwell Eronimous
Holly Hinnant
Nathaniel Livingston
Isaac Peck
Edward Sander
Annalisa Ursino

And from Chief Sealth International High School, photographed with counselor Jol Raymond, the honorees are:

Olivia Boyd
Sophia Boyd
Mabel Hernandez Collazo
Kelsey Lawson
Aidan McMurray
Yael Pina
Simon Tweolde
Lincoln Vuong

The lodge also honored four selected students from the previous year’s honoree roster. From those four, Matthew Wo from CSIHS received a $1,000 scholarship:

The “2013 Top Boys and Girls” also included Sealth’s Eileen Lee and WSHS’s Megan Antalan and Michael Lee. Last night’s ceremony was emceed by Martin Monk of Lodge 152; he also is a member of the Education Council that coordinates the awards program, along with Gary Langenbach, John Bozeat, and Elmer Lindseth.

Memorial tomorrow for Robert E. Chaney, ‘true West Seattle guy’

May 15, 2014 at 8:53 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

A memorial service and celebration are planned tomorrow (Friday, May 16th) for Robert Edmund Chaney, whose family shares this remembrance:

Mr. Robert Edmund Chaney met his Pilot face to face on May 8th at 88.

Mr. Chaney was best known as a true West Seattle guy! He was the father to Liz Chaney (Trindade) and Carolyn Camille Chaney, both of whom graduated from West Seattle High! Mr. Chaney was a true neighbor and lived in the North Admiral district since 1966.

He worked at Husky Delicatessen for more than 20 years and has been a RE Broker for Century 21 for most of his career. As a Christian minister, award-winning poet & writer, he left a powerful legacy to his other two children, Christopher Chaney of Southern California and & Kimberly Condrin of Renton WA. He has five grandchildren, Cory & Taylor Condrin, Tatiana, Lorenzo & Romeu Trindade. Mr. Chaney was one of 11 children and for the very reason he loved to have a lot of people, friends and family around. Mr. Chaney was a loving husband to Beverly Chaney (former Talent Manager to Jim Caviezel and Brendan Frasier). Mr. Chaney, Bob, was also a host father to hundreds of exchange students for over 15 years. He attended University of Oregon and Stanford with degrees in Business & Political Science.

Memorial service at Tahoma National Cemetery on May 16th, 2:00 pm, 18600 SE 240th St., Kent. Memorial celebration at his home in West Seattle. If you would like to attend, contact his daughter, Liz Chaney Trindade by cell, 917 435 6455; text is OK.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Celebration of life next Saturday for ‘Roxy’ Fultz-Tovey, 1955-2014

May 12, 2014 at 8:29 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

A celebration of life for a woman known best as “Roxy” is planned this Saturday in Skyway. Shared by her family:

Roxanne (Roxy) Lee Fultz-Tovey passed away at age 58 in her home in Tacoma. She was born December 2, 1955, to the late Virgil Fultz and Gloria Bruce.

Roxy moved to West Seattle around 1975 after attending Western Washington University; she then went to dental hygienist school. Roxy made lots of lifelong friends during the 20 years she lived in West Seattle. After working as a dental hygienist for 5 years, she then went to work for the Boeing Company, where she finished out her working career, until 2009.

Roxy was married to Mark Tovey from 1994-2005 and has a stepdaughter, Erin Tovey of Spokane, who she loved very much. Roxanne is also survived by her grandmother Jessi Bruce of Tacoma, brother Bruce Fultz of Tacoma, brother Troy Hoffmaster of Hastings, Nebraska, nephew Coltn Hoffmaster of Port Townsend, aunt Virginia (Ginger) Steffenson of SeaTac, cousin Stacy Hardy of Moses Lake, and cousin Danay Mims of Enumclaw.

Celebration of life to be held Saturday, May 17th, 2:00 pm, at Skyway VFW, 7421 S. 126th St. Roxy’s favorite color was purple – it would be great if you have something purple to wear. Please make any memorial donations to the Lupus Foundation.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Congratulations! Dow Constantine becomes a dad

May 9, 2014 at 4:34 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 9 Comments

Just announced this afternoon on Twitter, King County Executive Dow Constantine and wife Shirley Carlson are parents:

Twitter limits you to 140 characters, but the new dad added this on his official Facebook page: “She’s 6 pounds, 7.3 ounces.”

West Seattle scene: Loyalty Day at VFW Post 2713

May 1, 2014 at 9:31 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

We’ve heard plenty about today being May Day … but it is also Loyalty Day, started in the USA as a counter-observance in 1921, and explained on this page of the VFW website. At noontime today, at VFW Post 2713 in The Triangle, Loyalty Day was commemorated with a gathering and ceremony presented by VFW Ladies Auxiliary District 2. Above, from left, are three West Seattleites who are among local leadership – past VFW Ladies Auxiliary District 2 Commander Linda Fairbank, Post 2713 Surgeon Bill Dwyer, and Post 2713 Adjutant Ray Fairbank – with District 2 president Barbara Heston-Moore, who sent word last night of today’s event, which also featured speakers and 27 flags:

By the way, you can follow Post 2713 on Twitter.

Memorial this afternoon for Pearl Phillips, 1924-2014

May 1, 2014 at 9:04 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

A memorial service is planned this afternoon for Pearl Phillips, whose family shares this remembrance:

Pearl Virginia (Niebanck) Phillips, 89, of Seattle passed away April 16. Daughter of Lillian Spamer and Frederick Niebanck, Pearl was born August 2, 1924, in Woodbridge, New Jersey.

Pearl grew up in New York City, but at the age of 16, her family drove cross-country to California. The experience opened her eyes to the natural beauty of the country, and once home, she resolved to return someday. Five years later, Pearl fulfilled that dream and moved to California, living with relatives while she worked in a defense plant during WWII. There, she met her future husband, Don, at an officer’s dance. A native of Washington state, he romanced her with tales of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, promising to buy her a flannel shirt, blue jeans and hiking boots. Three months later, they were married and headed to Washington, where Pearl lived the rest of her life.

Pearl was a city girl, Don a woodsman. Together they explored the forests of the Olympic Peninsula, often off-trail, Don hopping rocks across streams or walking logs over ravines while Pearl rode his shoulders.

Click to read the rest of Memorial this afternoon for Pearl Phillips, 1924-2014…

Followup: Motorcycle rider killed on Vashon Island was West Seattle entrepreneur Patrick Lajko

April 30, 2014 at 10:03 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 28 Comments

The motorcycle rider killed on Vashon Island last Saturday night – a crash noted here because of the investigators’ high-profile presence at the Fauntleroy ferry dock – was a West Seattle entrepreneur, 62-year-old Patrick Lajko. Thanks to Ian for pointing out the identification published by Vashon Beachcomber.com, which reports that Mr. Lajko founded and owned CDE Software. The Junction-based company is an industry leader for bowling software. A webpage that details the company’s many successes shows Mr. Lajko with his motorcycle. The King County Sheriff’s Office says he was on northbound Vashon Highway waiting to turn left when a Vashon Island woman driving a car hit him from behind.

Passing of the Golden Rake, and other ways neighbors paid tribute to Vern Christensen

April 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm | In Fairmount Springs, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 11 Comments

A memorable West Seattle neighbor named Vern Christensen is gone but not forgotten. Cindy Craig shared photos and the story of how neighbors and friends gathered to remember him a few rainy/sunny Sundays ago:

On Sunday, March 30, about 40 friends (several of them 4-legged) gathered at the traffic island at 40th Av. SW and SW Juneau to remember their good neighbor, Vern Christensen, who passed away on March 15.

Most days during the past 24 years if you drove by the grassy knoll there on the corner previously known as ‘Weed Island’ you were likely to see Vern taking his daily constitutional, keeping a benevolent eye on the neighborhood between Fauntleroy and California and Brandon and Morgan. If it was raining, you would probably see him clearing the storm drain with his trusty rake because the city had asked citizens to help. Long before the West Seattle Blog was the ‘go to’ source for any news in Fairmount Springs, Vern was who you thought to ask first.

Vern was a farm boy from Flasher, North Dakota, born during the Great Depression in 1932. He always seemed to embrace those rural values of knowing your neighbors and taking the time to stop and share a story. He knew what the value of community was and he would have been pleased to see the diverse group of people that he helped weave together gathering to celebrate our common thread at the newly renamed ‘Vern Island.’

A native currant was planted on the island in Vern’s honor, and the Golden Rake and its duty to keep the drain cleared was transferred to another resident of 40th Av. S.W., Vern’s close friend Paul Sureddin:

And for a little while on a rainy Sunday afternoon in March, the sun came out just long enough for Vern Christensen’s neighbors to take one more walk around Vern’s beloved Fairmount Springs and remember a man who reminded us every day in his unassuming way what it was to be part of a community.

We will miss him.

Congratulations! AAUW honors 4 Sealth, WSHS students

April 27, 2014 at 1:30 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

(Photo by Judy Waring)
Congratulations to the two West Seattle High School and two Chief Sealth International High School students shown above! Marilyn Mears explains their accomplishment:

Earlier this month, AAUW (American Association of University Women), Seattle Branch, honored girls from 9 Seattle area high schools for their achievement in the areas of Math, Science, and Technology. The four girls from West Seattle were (left to right in photo): Chief Sealth IHS: Nicole Carter (Science) and Thu Trinh (Math), and from West Seattle HS: Nafisa Ali (Science) and Noriel Sarquilla (Math).

AAUW promotes equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, research, and philanthropy. Our Seattle Branch held its 14th Annual Scholar Recognition Program on April 9th, recognizing senior girls from nine Seattle high schools for their achievement in the areas of Math, Science, and Technology. Dr. Deborah Jensen, President/CEO of Woodland Park Zoo was the guest speaker at the event. The Scholar Recognition Program is all about encouraging more young women to become interested in STEM careers by honoring their achievements to date with a goal of encouraging better representation of women in these fields in the future.

West Seattle Helpline celebrates 25 years, chooses new executive director

April 21, 2014 at 11:43 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

Much to celebrate tonight at the West Seattle Helpline Founders’ Day Dinner. In honor of the emergency-assistance agency’s 25th anniversary, founders, supporters, and current leaders gathered for dinner at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) – among them, Kate Stannard, just chosen as WS Helpline’s ninth executive director, who paused for a photo with board president Brooks Riendl:

A thumbnail history of the Helpline notes that its inspiration started with the late Queen Anne Thriftway owner Dick Rhodes starting the Queen Anne Helpline in the 1980s, and wanting to do something similar in West Seattle when he opened Admiral Thriftway a few years later. The three organizers of the first planning meeting – Maureen Hersholt, Gregg Hersholt, and Phil Talmadge – were among the 20-plus guests at tonight’s dinner.

P.S. Here’s how you can help the Helpline and its thousands of clients – buy tickets to its ultra-popular, ultra-tasty fundraiser Taste of West Seattle, coming up May 15th.

Remembering Ethel Eyrse, 1914-2014, who lived ‘with great wit and curiosity’

April 18, 2014 at 10:51 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

The family of 99-year-old Ethel Eyrse, who spent the final fourth of her life here, shares this remembrance:

Ethel Louise (Boyer) Eyrse passed away on April 9, 2014. She was born in Saidora, IL on Dec. 2, 1914, to Harry and Elsie Boyer. Ethel moved to Pekin, IL in her teens and, after graduating from Pekin High School, worked at the Pekin Finance Company. She married Fred Eyrse on Aug. 2, 1936.

Ethel was an active volunteer at the Pekin Hospital League, holding many chairs including League President, and started the Nearly Nu Shop which over the years has raised thousands of dollars for the hospital. She moved to Seattle in 1997, following the death of Fred. She lived her 99-plus years with great wit and curiosity about life.

Always independent, Ethel was able to stay in her own apartment in West Seattle with a view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains and was as sharp as a tack to the end. A bit of her wit was shared online by her granddaughter, Shanna, through the website Upload Your Grandma.

Ethel is survived by her son, Steven Eyrse of Pekin, daughter Cinda (Eyrse) Christie of Seattle, three grandchildren, Shanna Christie, Severn Eyrse and Margaret Lanphier, and two great-grandchildren, Severn Eyrse Jr. and Hazel Lanphier. She will be greatly missed.

There will be a celebration of Ethel’s life at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations could be made in her name to the Pekin Hospital League, 600 South 13th Street, Pekin, IL 61554.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Undies with a twist: West Seattle women crowdfund for BoiBums

April 16, 2014 at 11:22 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 11 Comments

“We are excited to share our vision with like-minded women who want a
comfortable alternative to girly women’s underwear,” say Betsy Bruce and Dana Joy – both longtime West Seattleites – as they launch a crowdfunding campaign for their creation: Underwear called BoiBums. They’re trying to raise money to manufacture “a product for women using the same soft fabrics, comfortable cut, and wide-waistband used in men’s underwear.” (Briefs, not boxers.) And the sizing range will be robust – briefs in sizes up to the equivalent of 3XL. You can watch Dana and Betsy’s sassy pitch video on the Kickstarter page for BoiBums. In crowdfunding tradition, they’re offering rewards to donors, all detailed on that page. And if the underwear business goes well, they’re expecting to expand into other – perhaps, more visible – lines of apparel.

Congratulations to West Seattleites with awards, nominations

April 15, 2014 at 2:01 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

Congratulations go out to three West Seattleites with recent awards/nominations:

(Image courtesy NK Woodworking)
STEPPING UP TO VICTORY: Alki resident Nathie Katzoff is proprietor of NK Woodworking, which has just won more awards in a single year at the Stairways Manufacturers’ Association national trade show than any company has ever won before. That’s according to a company spokesperson who sent word of the wins – for Most Unique Staircase, Best Straight Staircase, Best Balustrade, and Best Stair Part, and notes that Katzoff has ascended in his industry relatively quickly, at the age of just 26.. The company also works on wooden boats, from a yard in South Park, and has its woodworking studio in South Seattle. See more of NKW’s work here.

EMMY NOMINATION FOR ‘DIVER LAURA’: Seattle’s regional Emmy Award nominations were made public this past weekend, and the nominees include West Seattle advocate/activist/photographer/etc. “Diver Laura” James, who contributed photography to the public-TV story you see above, a collaborative piece about sea otters and climate change, produced for KCTS 9 (though the story page from which the video comes is hosted by another public TV station). She is nominated along with producer Michael Werner, photographer/editor Greg Davis, and coordinating producer Katie Jennings. The winners will be announced at an event in June; you can see the full list of Seattle/regional nominees via a doc linked from this site.

‘CELEBRATE WORLD MUSIC’ AWARD NOMINATION: West Seattle’s Tim Huling is one of eight composers who were part of “Celebrate World Music,” a world-premiere concert at Benaroya Hall in March 2013. The resulting album is up for an Independent Music Award. Here’s one of Huling’s contributions from the concert, “The Ballad of Sylvester Jourdain“:

“Celebrate World Music” is nominated in the Contemporary Classical category; winners will be announced next month.

Remembering Barbara Jean Parker, 1954-2014

April 14, 2014 at 10:27 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

The family of Alki resident Barbara Parker, 60, shares this remembrance:

Barbara “Barb” Jean (Killian) Parker found peace on her way to heaven on March 29, 2014 to be with her sister Christine, her sister Darlene, her father Benny, mother Emily, her mother-in-law Jean, and her father-in-law Allan.

Born March 4, 1954, in Cleveland, Ohio, the oldest sister to Chris, Debbie, and Cindy, Barb’s reputation as a fighter began with her premature birth. She grew up in Cleveland and graduated from James Ford Rhodes High School. She attended Renton Technical College and received CAD/CAM certification as well as the University of Washington Project Management certification.

She met Michael Allan Parker in the fall of 1972 in the Sohio computer center where they both worked. They were married on March 3, 1973, by his father, Father Allan Parker, at St. Phillips Episcopal Church in Cleveland, Ohio. Their son Michael was born in Cleveland and then they moved to Seattle, where their son Matthew was born. After living in Dallas and Mission Beach, they returned to West Seattle to live in Alki.

Barbara was involved in the West Seattle community, and served as the Northwest Cavalier Rescue coordinator, adopting out 21 dogs. Barbara most recently worked for the Seattle Lighthouse of the Blind as a Technical Writer and Documentation Control. Previously she was an IT and ISO Internal Auditor. Barbara organized whomever she worked for, with a contagious humor.

Barbara will be missed by her husband Michael, sons Michael and Matthew, daughters-in-law Angie and Jessica, granddaughters Trinity, Emily, and Tess, sisters Deborah and Cynthia, the in-laws Edith and John, David, Janet, Ann and Dan, and Amy and Ken, plus countless nieces and nephews and cousins. Barbara was surrounded by family in her final days. To honor Barb’s wishes, there will be a private roast to celebrate her life on May 3rd in Alki Beach.

Donations would be made in the memory of Barbara Parker to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, PO Box 19023, Seattle, WA 98109 and be directed toward breast-cancer research. Online donations for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance can be made here.

Alternatively, donations can be made in Barbara Parker’s memory to the King Charles Cavalier Rescue. The information can be found here.

Funeral arrangements are under the care of Howden-Kennedy Funeral Home of West Seattle.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Followup: History-making South Seattle College team back from aerospace competition, sharing successes and gratitude

April 9, 2014 at 8:32 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, West Seattle schools | 5 Comments

(Photos courtesy CrystalRose Hudelson)
“The world of aviation is so vast, with endless possibilities waiting to be explored by young men and women!”

So says CrystalRose Hudelson, who you first met here in January as she shared the news that she and other South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) students had formed an all-woman team to head to the Aviation Maintenance Competition in Las Vegas – the school’s first-ever team to compete.

We also reported on their quest for – and acquisition of – the support they needed to get there, as well as their months of training/practicing. Now, they’re back and celebrating their successes:

Hudelson’s team, coached by longtime aviation mechanic Mary Hadley and also including Agnes Choung, Jennifer Lesher, Melissa Miedan Wang, and Sarah McKenna, placed first in one of the events in which they competed, the “Grey Owl Human Factors” event, with a time of 7:06. She explains that events were judged mostly on a 20-minute time basis.

Overall, she says, “The team did well in the competition. The judges and other professional teams commented on how well we did. This let us know that they know we are knowledgeable in the event materials. We did not, however, place overall. There is only 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place overall.”

Ahead, their other achievements, more photos, and what’s next:

Click to read the rest of Followup: History-making South Seattle College team back from aerospace competition, sharing successes and gratitude…

Remembering Greg Riddle, 1954-2014; celebration of life Saturday

April 6, 2014 at 3:05 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 15 Comments

A celebration of life is planned next Saturday for Greg Riddle, 59. His fight against cancer made news here two months ago when his family’s home near Roxhill Elementary caught fire, forcing them to find somewhere else to live, which they did, thanks in part to suggestions from WSB’ers when Mr. Riddle’s daughter Kristine Elliott asked here for ideas and assistance. Now, she shares this remembrance of her dad:

Family and friends will gather Saturday, April 12th, at 11:30 a.m. at Boulevard Park Place Retirement Community, 2805 S. 125th St. in Burien, for a Celebration of Life.

William Gregory Riddle passed away March 27, 2014. Greg was born October 24, 1954, to William (Bill) Cecil & Flo (Sue) Riddle, the 6th of 7 children, in Redding, California. He met the love of his life, Eileen Turgeon, in 1978 and they were married in 1982. Together, they raised their 3 children.

He was a highly skilled carpenter who had a unique bond with animals and loved to fish for salmon in the Hoh, Sol Duc & Bogachiel Rivers in Forks, Washington. Greg also loved the outdoors and spending time with his family. Some of his happiest times were coaching Little League Baseball. He knew how to bring out the players’ full potential, taught them to play as a team, and how to win or lose with pride.

Greg is survived by his wife Eileen, daughter Kristine and son-in-law Ryan Elliott, son Trevor Riddle, daughter Catherine Riddle, and daughter Jessica Riddle; four grandchildren Luke, Reese, Blake, and Chase Elliott; brothers Derryl Riddle and Tim Riddle; sisters Pat Henk and Mary Riddle. He was preceded in death by his father Bill, mother Sue, brothers Chuck Riddle and Kenny Riddle.

You will always be loved and forever missed…

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Congratulations! Reis Pearson honored with President’s Volunteer Service Award

April 6, 2014 at 11:23 am | In Rotary Club of West Seattle, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

“Make a Difference … Volunteer!” So exhorts the home page for the President’s Volunteer Service Award program. Someone who did – Reis Pearson (photo left) from the Rotary Club of West Seattle – has been honored with the award, according to an announcement from ShelterBox USA. Pearson is one of three WS Rotarians who work with ShelterBox, which we’ve featured here before – as described in the announcement, “an international disaster-relief organization that delivers emergency tented shelter and other lifesaving supplies to survivors of disasters and other humanitarian crises.” Last year alone, Pearson’s fund- and awareness-raising work for ShelterBox helped it “respond to more than 25 disasters in 19 countries last year, providing families with disaster relief tents, cook stoves, water filters, blankets, mosquito nets, children’s packs and other essential equipment.” Pearson is a local entrepreneur as well, proprietor of Inside Out Building Inspection.

Congratulations! West Seattle Y Dolphins swimmers compete at YMCA Short Course National Championships

April 6, 2014 at 10:37 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | 5 Comments

Thanks to West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) Dolphins swim-team parent Brent Lindblom for sharing the photo, and congratulations to those in it – Coach Kyle Homad and swimmers Michael Stewart and Karen Woodworth – for representing the WSY at the YMCA Short Course National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, this past week. Checking the detailed meet info – Michael (a Chief Sealth International High School student) competed in the 50 and 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly; Karen (a Vashon Island HS student) competed in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and 200 individual medley.

Memorial service Monday for Morey Skaret, Fauntleroy storyteller

April 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 11 Comments

The memorial service for Fauntleroy legend Morest “Morey” Skaret, 100, is set for 10 am this Monday (April 7th) at Forest Lawn (6701 30th SW). As noted in his obituary, as published in The Seattle Times, Mr. Skaret had been a West Seattleite since childhood. He also served with the Seattle Police Department for more than 40 years; our photo at right is from 2012, when he was honored by the Seattle Police Relief Association. Mr. Skaret was known by many as a storyteller; some of his stories are on HistoryLink.org, like this one. Fauntleroy writer/editor/community advocate Judy Pickens edited Mr. Skaret’s book of life stories, “Morey’s Bench“; we asked her for a few words in his memory:

“Nothing reveals the grain of a life and the time of its living quite like personal stories. And to loved ones, friends, and neighbors, no one can tell a story better than Morey Skaret.”

I wrote those words in 2003, when Morey and I culminated publication of “Morey’s Bench,” a collection of his stories spanning his early years on a homestead in Alberta, through his settling in Fauntleroy in 1937, to his long retirement overlooking the ferry terminal. Throughout the process, I could never convince him that people would want to buy the book. When the dust settled, however, we had reprinted it three times to satisfy demand.

With Morey’s passing on March 27, loved ones, friends, and neighbors have those stories and many “Did I ever tell you about…” moments with him as fond memories. Those not fortunate enough to have a copy of the book may find a sampling of his stories at www.historylink.org/?keyword=Skaret&DisplayPage=results.cfm&Submit=Go.

If you have a story to share, Mr. Skaret’s online guestbook is here.

Video: Westside Awards presented at West Seattle Chamber of Commerce; Mayor Murray keynotes

April 3, 2014 at 11:28 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 11 Comments

Photos/video by Patrick Sand
Story by Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

“All businesses need a voice,” said West Seattle Chamber of Commerce board chair Nancy Woodland, toward the start of this morning’s Westside Awards breakfast at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor). “We get so much more done, coming together, and that is the value of your Chamber of Commerce … where your voice can join other voices and be heard throughout the city.”

One proof of the citywide audience – the keynote speaker was Mayor Ed Murray, who lived in West Seattle in childhood:

Later in this story, you’ll see our video of what he had to say, and how he answered questions from those in attendance – but this story is about the Westside Award winners, first announced one week ago.

Being part of the Chamber means visibility, Woodland added, and that’s certainly one benefit of the annual Westside Awards. The video atop this story features the entirety of today’s presentations, so you can hear for yourself what they said. We took photos, too:

Westside Business of the Year, for General Biodiesel, was accepted by founder Yale Wong:

He and team members posed out on the Salty’s deck afterward:

Wong said GB now recycles oil from 3,000 restaurants around the Northwest.

Westside Emerging Business of the Year, for Second Gear Sports, a consignment shop for sports, exercise, and fitness gear, was accepted by proprietor Mark Bremen:

Bremen said that in just 7 months of operation, they’ve already had 400 consigners and thousands of items.

Westside Non-Profit of the Year, the West Seattle Food Bank – here’s their team picture:

The Food Bank helped more than 37,000 families last year alone.

And the Westsider of the Year, Josh Sutton of the West Seattle and Fauntleroy Y (WSB sponsor) and Rotary Club of West Seattle, with wife Susan and son Guthrie, who introduced him:

This was the first awards breakfast since Lynn Dennis became CEO.

Now, to the keynoter: Mayor Murray touched on several of the topics we discussed with him in our recent interview – especially transportation. This morning, he declared that West Seattle’s mobility issue was the city’s top transportation problem. Hear for yourself in our video of his remarks; he was introduced by the Chamber’s past chair, Dave Montoure:

He touted this Saturday’s Neighborhood Summit, 9 am-1 pm at Seattle Center, as an opportunity “to decide how we want to reinvent our city’s relationships with our neighborhoods.” He mentioned 500 people had RSVP’d as of this morning, and given the Northwest proclivity for procrastination, “we expect that number to grow.”

Regarding transportation, and the infrastructure needed to support growth, Murray got in a plug for Proposition 1, the buses-and-roads ballot measure, saying, “First of all, we have to preserve the transit we have … it’s incredibly important.” If Prop 1 doesn’t pass on April 22nd, he declared, “not only will people suffer in this city, people will suffer in the county.” He also promoted his outreach for opinions on the search for a new city transportation director and what people “are looking for from SDOT.” That’s when he said the “tough decisions going forward” included “how are we going to fund a rapid transit system from West Seattle into the rest of the city? While Sound Transit has plans, they are decades away. I don’t believe we can wait decades. It might be a grade-separated bus route that eventually (becomes) a light rail route. We need to look at how we manage the West Seattle (Bridge).”

And after declaring this the city’s #1 transportation problem, he mentioned the Highway 99 tunnel trouble, saying he thinks it’ll take at least nine months to get going: “While I wish this hadn’t happened, I’m glad it happened earlier on.”

He went through other issues – Seattle Police, which, he mentioned has “the most diverse police command staff in the history of the city” right now.

Taking a few questions from those in attendance, he was asked about density without much parking – also an issue we discussed in our recent interview – and, as he said to us, he said the comprehensive-plan review (Seattle 2035) is one way to look for a balance, though, he said, “I absolutely believe we should have fewer parking spaces.”

In a non-WS question, he was asked about people openly smoking marijuana in Pioneer Square. He said openly smoking pot or drinking alcohol are both illegal and they are working on being able to arrest those who do it.

NEXT CHAMBER EVENT: Even if you are not a Chamber member, you are welcome at their events – next up, a briefing by King County Metro during the monthly lunch, 11:30 am next Thursday, April 10th, at The Kenney (WSB sponsor) – register here.

Gatewood Elementary Class of 1956? Or, know someone who was?

April 1, 2014 at 9:04 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

(Photos provided by The WROC-ers; above, Ms. Ostle’s class)
Reunions aren’t just for high-school classes! This morning, we have a special announcement – with photos – for a reunion of Gatewood Elementary alums who went there more than half a century ago:

*If you attended Gatewood Elementary with the Class of ’56, reunite with your classmates on Friday, August 22nd. We will tour the remodeled Gatewood, then adjourn to Lincoln Park for a catered picnic. *

*In our day, Gatewood sixth graders went to either West Seattle or Sealth. Our 50th high-school reunions inspired us to reconnect with childhood friends from the neighborhood. The WROC-ers (‘Woodies Reunion Organizing Committee) found addresses for 70 of the former ’56ers. The first mailings are out, and the first RSVPs are in. *

(Mr. Acedo’s class)
*If you can help locate missing classmates (see the list below) or if you, a ’56er, haven’t received a flyer, please contact Bruce Thomason, papabruce@msn.com*

(Ms. Covey’s class)
*Mark August 22nd on your calendar in ink! We’d love to see you.*

*The WROC-ers: Margaret Cullor Brown, Beth Eldred Davis, Lyn Kraatz, Carol Shipley Stoner, Bruce Thomason*

They also sent a list of people they’re looking for: “We have not found these friends from Gatewood.” – if you’re reading this from the WSB home page, click ahead to see the list:

Click to read the rest of Gatewood Elementary Class of 1956? Or, know someone who was?…

Memorial planned April 5th for Mary Jane Holtan, 1938-2014

March 28, 2014 at 6:59 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

The family of West Seattleite Mary Jane Holtan shares this remembrance and announcement of her upcoming memorial:

Mary Jane Holtan, 75, passed away on March 20th, 2014.

A Memorial will be held on April 5th at 4 pm at Alki United Church of Christ, 6115 SW Hinds.

Mary was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, to Ralph and Alice Platt, on April 27, 1938. She went to school at Mt. Si High School in Snoqualmie.

She married Oryland (Bud) Holtan on May 7th, 1960. Mary is preceded in death by her husband, her parents Ralph and Alice Platt, and her two Brothers James Platt and David Platt.

She is survived by Dean Holtan (son), Sheila Holtan (daughter-in-law), Janice Platt (sister-in-law), and several nieces and nephews.

Donations may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in Mary’s name online (here).

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

2014 Westside Awards: Congratulations to General Biodiesel, Second Gear Sports, West Seattle Food Bank, Josh Sutton

March 27, 2014 at 9:13 am | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 15 Comments

The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has announced this year’s Westside Awards recipients, who will be honored at a breakfast event one week from today. From WSCofC CEO Lynn Dennis and chair Nancy Woodland:

The Westside Awards Breakfast honors three local businesses and one individual who demonstrate success and innovation that contribute to this thriving economic region.

The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce received more than 80 nominations, setting an all-time record of participation. We are thrilled to share the news about our 2014 Westside Award Winners. As is to be expected, this decision was difficult because we have so many truly outstanding businesses, non-profits and individuals working in and supporting the West Seattle community.

Click to read the rest of 2014 Westside Awards: Congratulations to General Biodiesel, Second Gear Sports, West Seattle Food Bank, Josh Sutton…

Know a ‘Rosie’? Or were you a ‘Rosie’? Local group meets Saturday

March 24, 2014 at 12:34 am | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

Rosies, unite! West Seattle’s Georgie Bright Kunkel is continuing to rally any and all Rosies she can find. Here’s news of the next get-together:

The next gathering of the newly organized Rosie the Riveter group will meet on Saturday, March 29th at 2:00 pm at the home of Georgie Bright Kunkel. Please call 206-935-8663 if you have not already RSVP’ed for this event.

Any woman who worked during the WWII years at any job that released a man to go to the service is a Rosie. You didn’t have to be a riveter.

Roadside memorial for Ruth N. Toliver, driver in Puget Ridge crash

March 23, 2014 at 3:49 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

Two weeks ago, we reported briefly on a driver who had crashed into a tree atop a greenbelt slope in the 4800 block of 21st SW on Puget Ridge. No major investigation followed; the car was soon towed, after its driver was taken to the hospital with what sounded, from emergency-radio communications, non-life-threatening injuries. But now a roadside memorial has appeared, on and beneath the tree hit that morning, and we thereby have learned the driver, 91-year-old Ruth Naomi Toliver, did not survive. Her name and photo are part of the memorial; we have found only a very brief obituary for Ms. Toliver (on a small Texas town’s paywalled news site), which says she was born November 8, 1922, in St. Louis, and died the day of the crash, March 9, at Harborview Medical Center. (The roadside memorial lists the same dates.) Public records show a Highland Park address for Ms. Toliver; the online obituary suggests memorial donations to (the former) Community Services for the Blind.

April 5th memorial service planned for Michael Hoffman

March 21, 2014 at 4:23 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

The date is now set for the memorial service honoring Michael Hoffman, the West Seattle business owner and community supporter gone too soon at just 47. Len Burton-Hardin of Howden-Kennedy Funeral Home says the memorial will be at noon Saturday, April 5th, at the Alki Masonic Center (40th/Edmunds). We also are told that donations in Mr. Hoffman’s memory can be made to Furry Faces Foundation and Pencil Me In For Kids, both of which recall him as an avid supporter. In addition to what we mentioned in our first report on his sudden death a week and a half ago – owning Liberty Bell Print and Design, and founding/organizing the annual West Seattle Car Show – he was part of many other community projects, as noted by some of the dozens of friends and colleagues who shared memories here.

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